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April 3, 2019

UCL is home to world’s first institute devoted to Crime Science


In 2001 University College London (UCL) founded the world’s first institute devoted to crime science – the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (the JDI). Today the JDI is one of the world's foremost research departments in the areas of crime prevention, reduction and detection, and in increasing security through the use of scientific methodology. The JDI aims to promote multidisciplinary research, conferences, events, training and short courses in these fields. The JDI works closely with partners from academia, industry, law enforcement and government.

The JDI – via the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science – offers an array of taught and research programs, including the MSc in Crime and Forensic Science, the MSc in Crime Science, the MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism, the MSc in Policing and a PhD in Security and Crime Science, as well as an undergraduate course the BSc in Security and Crime Science. These courses focus on a wide range of relevant topics, including developing new airport scanners, cybercrime and mapping how changing migration patterns will affect future crime.

Crime Science differs from traditional criminology in a number of important ways. It’s focused on research that creates impact over the shorter term and seeks to understand the crime ‘event’ itself. It also seeks to use theory to design and evaluate practical interventions, building an evidence base for practitioners of what can reduce crime. By mapping out potential crimes the aim is to implement measures to prevent that crime from occurring.

A key insight of Crime Science is the huge role that opportunity plays in crimes occurring, and how this can help explain why those with no track record of crime can find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and how these kind of crimes could be avoided. For example, a drunk person using glass as a weapon in a bar fight could be avoided with more security staff and the use of plastic glasses.

Crime Science also explores and explains the fact that crimes are not random. For example, research from the JDI has shown that, following a burglary, the risk of the same home being burgled again rises dramatically due to situational and opportunistic factors. These being that the stolen goods will have been replaced and the burglar already knows the lay of the land.

Crime Science also examines the growth of online crime as a result of the growth of the internet. This has led to both the growth in existing crimes, such as financial fraud and grooming, as well as new crimes like cybercrime. The JDI is leading the discussion in these areas, again applying a new way of thinking based on Crime Science methods.

Find out more about the exciting and dynamic Crime Science courses on offer at UCL.

Looking for funding for postgraduate studies? Check out the exclusive bursaries on offer from Postgrad Solutions.  

Content added on 3rd April 2019. 

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